5pm Roger Helmer MEP on Comment: A Con-LibDem merger? I will not be a member of such a mongrel party
12.15pm Local government: The truth about Sure Start in Hammersmith & Fulham
- VIDEO: Greg Clark explains why he is ending anti-car rules that Labour issued to local councils
- LISTEN: Mark Pritchard MP tells the Today programme why he opposes a continuing alliance with the Liberal Democrats
- LISTEN: Tim Montgomerie lists the concessions that Cameron had already made to Clegg and said it is wrong to say that the government is not a genuine coalition with compromises from both the Conservatives and Lib Dems
ToryDiary: Blogger of 2010
Geoffrey Van Orden MEP on Comment: Party members in the East of England overwhelmingly favour cutting immigration and oppose moves for the Tories to stand on a joint ticket with the Lib Dems at the next election
Local government: Terror suspect was placed by Tower Hamlets Council in luxury flat
Ed Miliband kicks off 2011 with attack on VAT rise
"Today we start to see the Tory-led agenda move from Downing Street to your street," Mr Miliband will warn. At midnight VAT goes up, hitting people's living standards, small businesses and jobs. The VAT rise is the most visible example of what we mean when we say the government is going too far and too fast, because it's clear that it will slow growth and hit jobs." – The Labour leader quoted by the BBC
Tomorrow's VAT rise will cost families £520 a year – Daily Mail
Coalition's policy reviews are costing £22m
"Coalition politics is costing the taxpayer more than £22 million. Research by The Times into 90 reviews of issues on which the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats disagree suggests the final cost will be significantly higher… Decisions on whether to supplant the European Convention on Human Rights, the replacement of the Trident nuclear system and whether to break up the retail and investment arms of British banks have all been shelved in favour of long-term reviews. They range from major external commissions, such as the £3 million Commission for the Funding of Care and Support, whose chairman, Andrew Dilnot, is paid £85,000 a year for three days’ work a week, to the £48,645 review on noise from wind farms." – Times (£)
Fraser Nelson discusses the leadership's thinking on a continuing Tory/ Lib Dem alliance
"A merger with the Tories is emerging as the best chance most Lib Dem MPs have to keep their seats. The party's Left would be appalled – but Clegg believes that wing of the party is electorally dead anyway, its voters having gone forever. Sir John Major has called for the extension of the Coalition, an option backed by about a fifth of Tory members. Party modernisers, some of whom are still fighting the old Tory wars, regard the Lib Dems as a bulwark against their enemies on the Right of the party." – Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph
Clegg, Hughes, Kennedy and Farron all descend on Oldham by-election – Independent
> Mark Pritchard MP has warned against "purple plotters" scheming to produce a "Frankenstein" party.
Theresa May v Nick Clegg on control orders
"Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is understood to be ready to drop the term "control order" she is trying to retain some form of curfew, possibly cut to a 16 hour maximum, and electronic tagging for the most serious cases." – Telegraph
The Sun attacks scrapping them: "The first duty of David Cameron and Nick Clegg is not to court popularity but to safeguard the lives of British citizens. Control orders – as MI5, the police and Home Secretary argue – are highly effective at curtailing the activities of suspected terrorists. It is unfortunate that scrapping them was among the rash pledges Lib-Dems made in the carefree days before the harsh realities of power."
Douglas Carswell MP asks the right question: "Would we really need control orders at all, if the judiciary did not actively prevent the British state from deporting foreign trouble-makers?"
Coalition in brief:
- Government relaxes two anti-car rules – Telegraph | BBC
- Rising unemployment will cost the government £1.5bn more than expected in welfare benefits – Guardian
- Francis Maude: 'Coalition will not ban strikes' – Telegraph
- What happened to Osborne’s Fair Fuel Stabiliser? – PoliticalBetting.com
National Union of Teachers' school poll finds much support for free schools policy despite spin on the results – BBC
NHS wastes £1bn by paying different amounts for same products
"More than £1 billion a year of taxpayers’ money is being wasted as health service managers spend wildly different amounts on the same supplies, the head of a government-backed efficiency drive has told The Times. Eight NHS trusts are routinely paying 19 different prices for the same pacemaker, wasting up to £750 a time, in one of many examples of how money is squandered when equipment is bought at needlessly high prices." – Times (£) | Express
Mirror attacks George Osborne's Christmas holiday
"Unlike Mr Osborne, most people do not have a multi-million pound trust fund. They do not live in massive houses in West London. And they cannot afford to swan off at Christmas for a skiing holiday at an exclusive resort. The timing and choice of the Chancellor's Swiss holiday could not have been more insensitive. While he is taking to the slopes, millions of cash-strapped households are feeling the pinch because of his economic policies." – Voice of the Mirror
> Melanchthon yesterday: “MPs use holiday season to… go on holiday!”
- Daily Mail leader: "Responsibility for this shambles lies firmly with Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke and his ineffectual prisons minister Crispin Blunt. Both love spouting airy rhetoric about the need to reduce the prison population of the future. Have they perhaps forgotten it is also their job to manage and control the prison population of the present?"
- The Sun: "David Cameron should be drawing up a list of candidates for Ken's replacement."
London Labour councils lag badly on transparency – Andrew Gilligan in The Telegraph
Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.